LIGHTNING MAKE 3 DEADLINE DEALS, ACQUIRE RW JASON WARD, LW KARL STEWART, D JOE RULLIER
Lightning GM Jay Feaster comments about Today's Trades
The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired right wing Jason Ward from the Los Angeles Kings, right wing Karl Stewart from the Chicago Blackhawks and defenseman Joe Rullier from the Anaheim Ducks, Executive Vice President & General Manager Jay Feaster announced. The Lightning also received a 6th-round choice (previously acquired from Florida) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft from Chicago, while sending right wing Nikita Alexeev to the Blackhawks.
The Lightning sent a fifth-round choice in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft to the Kings for Ward, while Anaheim received defenseman Doug O'Brien from the Lightning in exchange for Rullier.
"Jason Ward is a solid, dependable two-way player who competes hard and battles," Feaster said. "He can play center or wing and can be used on the penalty kill. We like his work ethic and believe he will fit in well within our forechecking system. He is a big man who is tough to play against and will provide us with depth and options within our third and fourth lines.
"Karl Stewart is a one-man wrecking ball," Feaster continued. "He skates incredibly well, which makes him a perfect fit for our system, and he hits everything that moves and he hits hard. He is the type of player who gives his team a jolt of energy as a result of the way he plays and he distracts the opposition. He is exactly the type of hard-nosed player we are looking for on our third and fourth lines.
"We are a much tougher team to play against as a result of our deals today and earlier this week, and we believe that toughness is going to be critical as we head down the stretch and prepare for the post season."
Ward, 28, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of Chapleau, Ontario, has skated in 53 NHL games this season with Los Angeles and the New York Rangers, recording four goals, seven assists and 30 penalty minutes. Ward, traded to Los Angeles by the New York Rangers on February 5, has appeared in 239 career NHL games with Montreal, New York and Los Angeles, recording 24 goals, 59 points and 117 penalty minutes.
Selected in the first round, 11th overall by Montreal at the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Ward played in a career-best 81 games for the Rangers in 2005-06, recording 10 goals, 18 assists and 44 penalty minutes. He has also skated in 296 career American Hockey League games with Fredericton, Quebec and Hamilton, totaling 97 goals, 232 points and 390 penalty minutes between 1999 and 2005.
Stewart, a 5-11, 180-pound native of Aurora, Ontario has appeared in 40 NHL games with Chicago and Pittsburgh this season, recording two goals, three assists and 45 penalty minutes. Originally signed as a free agent by Atlanta in 2001, Stewart appeared in 13 games with the Thrashers in 2003-04 and 2005-06 before being traded to Anaheim prior to this season. Pittsburgh then claimed him off waivers from the Ducks on September 27, and Chicago claimed him off waivers from Pittsburgh on October 26. After three full Ontario Hockey League seasons with the Plymouth Whalers, Stewart, 23, joined the Chicago Wolves of the AHL and skated in 220 games with the Wolves in three seasons, recording 48 goals, 106 points and 596 penalty minutes.
Rullier, a 6-3, 230-pound defenseman, has split this season between Manitoba and Portland of the American Hockey League, scoring two goals and recording nine points in 30 games. He is a veteran of 428 AHL games and has scored 22 goals while registering 87 points and 1,205 penalty minutes. He has also appeared in 29 career Calder Cup Playoff games, tallying six assists. During his AHL career he has also played with Lowell, Manchester and Hartford.
The 27-year-old, Montreal native played his junior career with Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In his three seasons with the Oceanic, Rullier played in 181 games and scored 11 goals while dishing out 77 assists. He was a teammate of Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier in 1997-98 and again with Richards in 1998-99 and 1999-00.